Never buy a 1 or 2 cent stamp again! Forever Postage Stamps will be accepted to mail a 1st class envelope regardless of future rate hikes. Thirty years from now you will be able to pull it out of the drawer, put it on an envelope, throw it in a mailbox and it will be delivered by the US Postal Service.
As of January 22, 2012 the USPS charges $0.45 for shipping a first class letter and forever postage stamps will be accepted to cover that charge, even if you bought them years ago at a much lower price.
Of course, “forever” assumes the US Postal Service will still be around when you go to use the stamps and that an act of Congress hasn't changed the rules. That is a small but important point of consideration for anyone thinking of forever stamps as an investment. They should be viewed for what they are - stamps that eliminate the hassle of waiting in line at the post office for 1 cent make-up rate stamps needed to pay for the new postage rate.
We may be set up for ongoing and large increases in the cost to mail a first class envelope.
If so, forever postage stamps mean you don't have to pay attention to all the increases. You can just put your stamp on a letter and throw it in the mailbox and not worry if your 44 cent postage stamp is "enough". It's not!
One less thing to worry about is a much needed relief in a world that gravitates to more complex rather than more simple. The money savings of hedge against inflation is a nice side benefit. A penny saved is a penny earned, after all.
The USPS released their first forever postage stamps in 2007 and they cost $0.39. So in just 5 years that price has increased by 6 cents to $0.45. Put another way, the price of a stamp has gone up more than 15% in 5 years - waaaaay more than most stocks! Removing the annoyance and financial costs of stamps is an extremely positive change for postal customers.
Where did this brilliant idea come from?
Look no further than Great Britain, the same people that have been innovating in the stamp field since, well, since they designed and released the first postage stamp - the adored 'Penny Black'.
But, back to the task at hand - Great Britain released the first inflation-proof stamps in 1989 which they called Non-Value Indicated (NVI) stamps. At that time the NVI stamp to mail a first class letter cost 19 pence. First class mailing in Great Britain costs 60 pence as of April 30, 2012 so the rate has more than tripled in the past two decades. Even so, that NVI stamp bought in 1989 will still get your letter to the recipient.
That almost does sound like a good place to put your money…but there is no reason to buy more than you plan to use in a few months.
Mainly that's because you'd be buying stamps which aren't the same as or as good as cash. If you try and resell them, whether through stamp auctions, stamp dealers, or online auctions like eBay, you'll be lucky to get even 85% of what you paid.
The reason is a strong supply of stamp collections full of common US Stamps that flood the market and exceed the demand so the price drops like a rock. For more information on stamp prices and values check out my stamp values page.
Even Forever Postage Stamps will sell at a discount from the current 1st class mail rate when re-sold but you should be able to find a buyer at 90 to 95% of the current rate.
So just buy what you need, which is a pretty good path to follow in most things in life.
Collect the ones that fit your collection, use the rest and just sit back and smile thinking of those long-gone, uncivilized days when you had to trek to the post office every year for some one cent make-up rate stamps J